Giveaway: Isolation by Denise Stephenson
Posted by brriske
Publisher: Mill City Press (April 15, 2014)
Category: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Political Thriller, Medical Thriller
ISBN: 13: 978-1-62652-760-7
Tour Dates: June 15-July 30, 2014
Available in: Print and ebook, 383 Pages
Isolation depicts a bleak but recognizable future in which the fear of contagion reaches a fever pitch as a bacterial epidemic catapults the US into an apocalyptic crisis.
Touch is outlawed. Mothers like Maggie bind their infants’ hands, terrified they might slip fingers into mouths. Gary, a Sterilizer, uses robots to scour the infected, avoiding all contact with human flesh. Trevor, the Chief Enforcer, watches, eager to report any and all infractions.
One inadvertent touch will change all of their lives.
I feel I need to start this review by saying that I am not a huge fan of apocalyptic books of this nature. I read it as part of an obligation to the author. The book started out slow for me, bouncing every couple of pages with different POV’s. I realize that when you have a shifting POV, it tends to be difficult to manage how soon to change from one character to the next. I believe the author knew what she wanted to do with this book, but I am not entirely convinced that it turned out the way that was best. You start reading this book, getting a very dry picture of all the different bacterium that are infecting the population. The author did well at researching the diseases, describing the diseases, but the solutions to the problem just did not seem realistic to me. Half-way through the book, the press releases about the pathogens stopped. When they stopped, it created some disjointed writing for me. I get that people can develop an immunity to antibiotics, but for me the progression of this story just was not realistic for me. I was bothered by the ways that “decontamination” supposedly happen when clearly there will always be some level of bacteria. Then in the last 75 pages or so, to suddenly throw in a sexual element just did not work for me. For the first 50 percent of the book, I almost stopped reading, but continued to see if things would improve and what the final outcome would be. Denise did not really deliver a conclusion to this epidemic, so for the readers that do like this- I hope there is a sequel because you will be left guessing if there is not.
Praise for Isolation:
“I was fortunate enough to read a preview copy of Isolation and I have to say it is a timely and thought provoking, if not haunting, look into the future. I can’t imagine simple day-to-day tasks like getting food at the market being either impossible or dangerous. Written from a variety of perspectives and far-reaching communities, it kept the reader wondering, “Could this really happen to me? Could this be part of my world?” This book made me look into the foods I eat, the lifestyle I live and the value of my friends and family. To what extent would I go to keep those I love safe? Looking for answers kept me turning the pages.”– Michelle Keeton
“Denise Stephenson’s novel Isolation is situated in a not-too-distant future, one we can all imagine, in which bacterial diseases decimate human populations world-wide. Though other novelists and filmmakers have relied on viruses to frighten us with tales of pandemic diseases, Stephenson makes bacteria seem much, much more dangerous—in part, because the vast majority of bacteria we come in contact with are necessary for our survival. For one thing, we can’t digest food without the help of bacteria in our stomachs.
In Isolation, government agencies struggle with the question of how to isolate the dangerous bacteria from the life-saving sort. Eventually, hospitals are turned into Anti-Bacterial Centers, robots are used to cleanse individuals who are exposed, touching one’s face is banned, then touching others is banned, and finally everyone is quarantined inside their own homes in a final, desperate attempt to stop the spread of the lethal bacteria. It’s a frightening vision, but each step, each decision, makes perfect sense in light of the threat of contagion.
It’s a gripping tale, at once outrageous and yet plausible. Through news articles, a scientific report and a press release inserted throughout the novel, Stephenson reveals how woefully unprepared American society is for this sort of calamity.
In spite of the doomsday vision the book presents, it remains hopeful and optimistic by focusing on the lives of individuals. In the direst of circumstances, their humanity, their compassion, and their hope shines through.”– Bob Mayberry
“Isolation” paints a bleak picture. In order to keep humankind safe, the government imposes increasingly stricter bans on touching. From Do-not-touch one’s own nose and eyes to, in the end, the Total-Touch-Ban. People live in ever more isolation; at times, confined to their homes like prisoners.
While the prospect of living in, or even reading, about such a world may not sound appealing to everyone, Stephenson’s lovingly created characters, who accompany the reader from the present to a future two to three generations away, confirm that our species can adapt and survive.
Stephenson’s care to give each of her main characters a distinctive voice makes, in turn, the reader care about them; and that is what makes “Isolation” a pleasure to read.”– Irene Gerold
“Isolation gripped me. It’s a mesmerizing dystopia about the quiet and deadly menaces in our lives. These dangers may be hidden in the jargon of the latest government health report, lurking under the frilly curl of a romaine lettuce leaf, or triggered by a minor cut to a finger while using an ordinary kitchen knife. The characters in Isolation are people I know. It was easy to imagine myself as a sister, friend, or neighbor to any of them – or most of them.
I was in the story wondering, “What would I crave? What would I do for my family and my friends? Isolated, what could I do to fight back?” These questions linger.
The story is well paced, well written, and scary. Stephenson’s research is excellent. It provides a persuasive foundation for explaining why the home-bound isolation of the population becomes the awful solution for stopping the spread of disease. The story compelled me to mull my complacency about the safety of our food, drugs, and government promises to always protect our freedom.“- Karen Baum
DENISE R. STEPHENSON resides in Oceanside, CA, but she has lived in all the isolated locales of this novel at one time or another. Her publishing history is primarily academic, though as a member of Attention Deficit Drama, she has written and produced monologs and short plays. This is her first novel.
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JeanzBookReadNReview July 30 Interview & Giveaway